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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>I'm having kind of a struggle with ds1's fourth grade teacher.  I like her well enough, but she says certain things that really rub me the wrong way.  I already had a talk with her about three weeks ago to let her know that I felt like ds was receiving a lot of negative feedback but not much positive feedback.  (Quick summary:  he was hs'ed until now.  Academically he's at grade level, but his spelling and handwriting are awful.  He's made great progress and gets almost all A's, even on his spelling tests after he's studied the words.  He's a disorganized kid, always has been, forgets everything, so this has been tough.)</p>
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<p>I feel like she got it when we had our meeting, and since then I've heard her try to make sure to give ds more positive feedback.  However, she still kind of lectures him whenever he forgets something, even right in front of me, and I find it annoying, but I figure that's the way she is, and that's probably not going to change.</p>
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<p>But just the other day, again with both of us standing right there, she said "His handwriting is horrible."  Now, granted, his printing IS horrible.  (He switched to cursive early and his cursive is fine - I pointed that out to her when she said it.)  But I bristle at hearing her say that to him, and I think I would bristle hearing any teacher say that to any young kid.  I mean, he's only 9, why give him a complex alread?.  Plus, I know lots of adults with horrible handwriting (my sister and dad are two of them - both very intelligent and educated), so I don't think there's any reason to be so harsh about it.</p>
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<p>She's kind of got this "I tell it like it is, 4th graders are old enough to hear the truth" kind of attitude.  I get it, but her style rubs me the wrong way.</p>
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<p>I've already been kind of a thorn in her side, so I don't want to totally push her over the edge by saying something about her handwriting comment, but these negative judgments really bug me. </p>
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<p>When do you say something?  When do you let it go?  I talked with ds about it when we left and let him know that I was proud of him for how hard he's been working, etc., but he is the kind of kid who takes criticism from other adults to heart, and I think her words have more impact than mine.</p>
 

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<p>You could try and talk to her one more time. I doubt if it will help though. Worth a try. Would switching classes be an option?</p>
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<p>If it were my kid and I could not switch them I would talk to them about the teacher.Some people are more critical than others,and hopefully they can learn to ignore the comments. I know my dd gets upset if she hears the teacher saying anything remotely hurtful to another child.</p>
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<p>We don't have the option of another teacher,so either they tolerate it or leave the school.Thankfully nothing has been directed at my kids,but if it were and they were upset I would want to pull them. Teachers are always so nice with parents,but the kids see someone different in class each day.</p>
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<p>I hope you can help make his days better at school. I was told to write a lot to make my handwriting better,but to this day it is still very horrid.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mattemma04</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16056131"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>You could try and talk to her one more time. I doubt if it will help though. Worth a try. Would switching classes be an option?</p>
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<p>If it were my kid and I could not switch them I would talk to them about the teacher.Some people are more critical than others,and hopefully they can learn to ignore the comments. I know my dd gets upset if she hears the teacher saying anything remotely hurtful to another child.</p>
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<p>We don't have the option of another teacher,so either they tolerate it or leave the school.Thankfully nothing has been directed at my kids,but if it were and they were upset I would want to pull them. Teachers are always so nice with parents,but the kids see someone different in class each day.</p>
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<p>I hope you can help make his days better at school. I was told to write a lot to make my handwriting better,but to this day it is still very horrid.</p>
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<p><span><img alt="truedat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/truedat.gif"></span></p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16056061"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>She's kind of got this "I tell it like it is, 4th graders are old enough to hear the truth" kind of attitude.  I get it, but her style rubs me the wrong way.</p>
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<p>I have a different pov.  I think there is a lot to be gained from my 4th grader interacting with many different kinds of caring adults.  This teacher's style will have good and bad sides, just like every other style.  Yes, I sometimes bristle at something that a teacher, aunt, grandparent, or neighbor says to my child, but I usually look to my dd to see how she is handling it.  Sometimes she brushes it off.  Sometimes she is bothered but takes it as motivation.  Sometimes she is bothered in a way that manifests negatively--anxiety, discouragement, etc. </p>
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<p>For the first two, I do nothing.  I accept that dd is resilient and the benefits of having positive relationships with many caring adults outweighs the risks of occasional imperfect phrasing.</p>
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<p>In the case of a negative response, I work with my dd to show her different perspectives.  So that teacher said her handwriting was horrible.  So what?  Who is she, the Queen of Handwrit-een?  (we use humor a lot)   We'd talk about how drs are notorious for horrid handwriting.  We'd talk about strengths and challenges, dig up samples to appreciate improvement, etc.</p>
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<p>In the big picture, I feel it will help my child more if I help him/her build resilience and self-confidence, rather than trying to manage what comes out of another adult's mouth. </p>
 

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<p>There are many choices besides "horrible" that could have been used to get the point across-needs attention, is a work in progress, is an area for growth, all come to mind as more sensitive options.</p>
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<p>One year my dd had a wonderful, but very blunt, teacher.  I cringed a lot, but ultimately  dd wasn't too affected very negatively.  We talked many times about what her teacher was trying to get across.</p>
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<p>I do have to say though, as a mom of a kid w/dysgraphia, "terrible handwriting" grates on me.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>karne</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16056986"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>There are many choices besides "horrible" that could have been used to get the point across-needs attention, is a work in progress, is an area for growth, all come to mind as more sensitive options.</p>
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<p>One year my dd had a wonderful, but very blunt, teacher.  I cringed a lot, but ultimately  dd wasn't too affected very negatively.  We talked many times about what her teacher was trying to get across.</p>
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<p>I do have to say though, as a mom of a kid w/dysgraphia, "terrible handwriting" grates on me.</p>
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It's reallly interesting you bring this up, because I have long suspected dysgraphia.  Dyslexia runs in dh's family (he and his dad are both dyslexic), and while ds doesn't show any signs of their type of learning disability (reading), he fits every description of dysgraphia.  I am talking with his teacher about getting him tested through the school district (we looked into private testing last year and it was about $1200), but so far her response has been that he is working at grade level and therefore not eligible for testing/intervention.</p>
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<p>I think this is why it's been bothering me - I feel like he is working really hard on it, and is sensitive to it, so to hear her be so critical makes me cringe.</p>
 

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<p>Can you ask for the school OT to take a look at a sample of his writing?  Or better yet, watch him write, do a timed writing observation?  That may offer another set of eyes, and possibly some suggestions.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>karne</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16058289"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Can you ask for the school OT to take a look at a sample of his writing?  Or better yet, watch him write, do a timed writing observation?  That may offer another set of eyes, and possibly some suggestions.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16058029"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>karne</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16056986"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>There are many choices besides "horrible" that could have been used to get the point across-needs attention, is a work in progress, is an area for growth, all come to mind as more sensitive options.</p>
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<p>One year my dd had a wonderful, but very blunt, teacher.  I cringed a lot, but ultimately  dd wasn't too affected very negatively.  We talked many times about what her teacher was trying to get across.</p>
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<p>I do have to say though, as a mom of a kid w/dysgraphia, "terrible handwriting" grates on me.</p>
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It's reallly interesting you bring this up, because I have long suspected dysgraphia.  Dyslexia runs in dh's family (he and his dad are both dyslexic), and while ds doesn't show any signs of their type of learning disability (reading), he fits every description of dysgraphia.  I am talking with his teacher about getting him tested through the school district (we looked into private testing last year and it was about $1200), but so far her response has been that he is working at grade level and therefore not eligible for testing/intervention.</p>
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<p>I think this is why it's been bothering me - I feel like he is working really hard on it, and is sensitive to it, so to hear her be so critical makes me cringe.</p>
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<br><br><p>Ditto this.</p>
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<p>A students can take 2 hours with dysgraphia to write what an 'average' students can write in 10 minutes- it *could* be on grade level. But the sheer energy and effort that the student has to use to produce that work is disproportionate to what it should involve.</p>
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<p>I would request a written statement for evaluation. The school technically can not deny you - even if he is on grade level-. Express your concerns about handwriting. They may have the OT just work with him, observe him, or suggest maybe some adaptations (sometimes a slant board, a different pencil type, a gripper, etc) can make a world of difference.</p>
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<p>I would also see if your insurance would cover OT or an evaluation for OT. Their is a wonderful program called Handwriting without tears that our area uses and it is fantastic for kids that struggle (K-6th grade). Our local therapudic clinic even had a writing clinic for 'regular education' kids last summer that was inexpensive and for kids that struggled with handwriting and dysgraphia.</p>
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<p>How is is his spelling? His sentence structure?? Often dysgraphia also presents in trouble with sentence formation, spelling, and word use in addition to handwriting. If it is *just* handwriting then I would look at fine motor  concerns that are making it physically difficult to write instead of dysgraphia.</p>
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<p>Have you tried teaching him to type?? That is a wonderful alternative for students that struggle with handwriting.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16058029"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><p><br>
It's reallly interesting you bring this up, because I have long suspected dysgraphia.  Dyslexia runs in dh's family (he and his dad are both dyslexic), and while ds doesn't show any signs of their type of learning disability (reading), he fits every description of dysgraphia.  I am talking with his teacher about getting him tested through the school district (we looked into private testing last year and it was about $1200), but so far her response has been that he is working at grade level and therefore not eligible for testing/intervention.</p>
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<p><br>
It is a good idea to check the policy, regulation, law, you are interested in; otherwise you are dealing with the possible misinterpretation, bias, or poor memory of whomever you ask.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>His writing is verrrrry slow.  And in class he is having a hard time listening to the information because it's taking so long and he's working so hard just to get things written down.  He also has a really tough time with spelling - he just doesn't seem to get phonics.  However, his sentence formation/grammar is fine.  He knows what punctuation to use when, when to capitalize, etc.  He also has a great vocabulary.</p>
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<p>His fine motor skills have never been in a problem in any other area other than handwriting - knitting, woodworking, art projects . . . I can't think of what else, are all fine.  In fact, he's always been a highly coordinated kid who is really good with his hands.  He was a very late talker (3yo before he really started talking), and we had numerous developmental assessments done during that time.  No one could find any area of deficiency or delay - in fact, if anything, he was advanced in almost every other area, which really puzzled everyone.  The only other thing that's ever come up for him is that he is grey/green colorblind.  Other than that he is has had no other problems or delays at all.</p>
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<p>I emailed the teacher about my request to have him tested for dysgraphia, and she said she forwarded it to the principal.  I'll wait until after the holiday next week to follow up.  In addition to the STAR test, 4th graders also have to do a written component, so the school should be fairly motivated to get their writers up to speed. </p>
 

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<p>How about a mixture of keyboarding (to reduce frustration/increase speed) and handwriting (for practice).?  I would scribe some homework to keep the frustration level down</p>
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<p>Are there options for keyboarding at his school?</p>
 

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<p>I just wanted to give this two likes, LOL!  I completely agree.  (Though FWIW... I don't think we need to eliminate the word "horrible" from the vocabularies of four-year-olds, though she should be accurate: his printing is horrible.  What I would ask, if I asked anything, would be that she consider whether charged statements are 100% accurate, because if you're going to let it all out, you need to be careful that what you're saying is TRUE.)</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sunnmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280289/should-i-say-something-about-this#post_16056360"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><p>I have a different pov.  I think there is a lot to be gained from my 4th grader interacting with many different kinds of caring adults.  This teacher's style will have good and bad sides, just like every other style.  Yes, I sometimes bristle at something that a teacher, aunt, grandparent, or neighbor says to my child, but I usually look to my dd to see how she is handling it.  Sometimes she brushes it off.  Sometimes she is bothered but takes it as motivation.  Sometimes she is bothered in a way that manifests negatively--anxiety, discouragement, etc. </p>
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<p>For the first two, I do nothing.  I accept that dd is resilient and the benefits of having positive relationships with many caring adults outweighs the risks of occasional imperfect phrasing.</p>
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<p>In the case of a negative response, I work with my dd to show her different perspectives.  So that teacher said her handwriting was horrible.  So what?  Who is she, the Queen of Handwrit-een?  (we use humor a lot)   We'd talk about how drs are notorious for horrid handwriting.  We'd talk about strengths and challenges, dig up samples to appreciate improvement, etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>In the big picture, I feel it will help my child more if I help him/her build resilience and self-confidence, rather than trying to manage what comes out of another adult's mouth. </p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<div>There are many choices besides "horrible" that could have been used to get the point across-needs attention, is a work in progress, is an area for growth, all come to mind as more sensitive options.</div>
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<p>And halfway through the school-year, every child will know that "needs attention" means "bad", "a work in progress" means "pretty bad" and "an area for growth" means "horrible".</p>
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<p>I hate euphemisms and hated them in school.  I mean... she could just SIGH for that matter.  Is the child really not going to get it?</p>
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<p>Re: dysgraphia: it is interesting indeed, first of all, that they are printing in the fourth grade.  I am also fascinated that you can have good handwriting, good sentence structure, etc. and dysgraphia, because I can write backwards *but only in cursive*.  I always wondered how that was even possible!  I can write backwards in any language I write... but not print.  I wonder how that works.</p>
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<div>There are many choices besides "horrible" that could have been used to get the point across-needs attention, is a work in progress, is an area for growth, all come to mind as more sensitive options.</div>
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<p>And halfway through the school-year, every child will know that "needs attention" means "bad", "a work in progress" means "pretty bad" and "an area for growth" means "horrible".</p>
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<p>I hate euphemisms and hated them in school.  I mean... she could just SIGH for that matter.  Is the child really not going to get it?</p>
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I wasn't looking for euphemisms for "horrible".  Horrible has a finality and judgement to it that makes me question it's use in a conversation about a student's work-especially when the student is present.  Something such as "needs more attention" suggests an issues that may have a workable solution, or the expectation of improvement.  I think this is a better use of terminology when speaking with your student present.  What is he student supposed to "get"?  To me, hopefully, that help can be offered.</p>
 

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<p>My ds is a slow writer, too, and we are doing the writing with out tears program with OT.  Our school does not offer an OT, but the area education agency for the state tested him and found problems during an intervention by the school.  We got the an OT referral from his neurologist, and it is covered with our insurance.  Perhaps you could talk to your Ped. about a possible referral for OT.  Stick with talking to the teacher and administration about testing. Your son may qualify for accommodations, such as having assistance writing answers on exams or extra time to do work, as well as OT if it is available.  Teachers do not like to give accommodations unless it is required by iep or similar plan.  </p>
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<p>Another thought, not understanding phonics and poor handwriting are characteristics of dyslexia.  I think you might want to push for the school to test for dyslexia.  It does run in families, and you mentioned that you have a family link. </p>
<p>My ds has dyslexia, too, so I have been reading up on websites that the psychologist sent us to based on her assessment of ds.  This is one she recommended <a href="http://www.interdys.org/FAQ.htm" target="_blank">http://www.interdys.org/FAQ.htm</a>.   She also recommended a book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz.  I have not read it, yet, but she felt it was informative.  </p>
 
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